LONDON, United Kingdom — Ambiguity is something of a stock in trade with British fashion: the gender games, the big tease, the convention unhinged by camp... Charles Jeffrey, who showed today, is the latest in a long and illustrious bloodline. But ambiguity has never been an arrow in Craig Green's quiver.
Like the man himself, his clothes are indubitably masculine. Even if their extreme aestheticism loans them a cross-gender allure, they're about men's hopes and dreams and disappointments. The collection Green showed today was his strongest statement yet about contemporary masculinity and, in its seamless blend of dream and reality, it was also Green's most confident expression to date of his own ethos.
The wardrobe of the working-man is always his starting point. In the past, that's meant more the salt of the earth — a farmer, a fisherman, a soldier — but today, by adding pinstripes, he brought city boys into the fold. After all, they work too. But Green deconstructed the traditional pinstripe suit, opening seams, reconstructing the suit as something out of a Kurosawa movie.
There is a fascinating sense with Green that his clothes are a glimpse of things to come, not just in fashion but in the world.
He did the same thing to a trench coat, dissected and laced back together in much the same abstract way you’d imagine an imaginative alien far in the future might try to reconstruct our society from excavated shards. Worlds collided. It was a vision. But not as much as the mosaic-patterned pieces that followed. Earlier in the week, Green mentioned Moroccan bed sheets as an inspiration. That scarcely did justice to the hybridized forms looped and laced into a semblance of clothes from a dream where reality is unpicked.
Yes, there were sleeves, there were trouser-legs, but they dangled or flapped free (or were bar-tacked, like the dream-master had a flash of reason). Then Green brought colour as bold and graphic as a flag into the equation, in outfits composed of scarves wrapped, knotted, draped, like sportswear for a fantasy Olympics. Sportswear that was also like a reconceptualisation of nomad clothing. You wear all you have on your back. It was hard not to think of Green himself, getting by on the merest handful of clothing in his own life.
What this said about where men are in the cosmos could be open to wide interpretation. Green himself isn’t about to coach anyone. Urgency? Security? They’re pretty much clichés at this point.
As much as Green acknowledged militarism, draping bandoliers loosely across his models’ chests, wrapping their heads in tight ninja Cagoule hoods, he also celebrated a sensuality that looked almost perverse by comparison. Back-laced jackets or sleeves came undone, baring skin in a way that felt casually inevitable. And this, incidentally, didn’t equate with ambiguity, because it still had the calculated provocation of men who have nothing left but their masculinity.
There is a fascinating sense with Green that his clothes are a glimpse of things to come, not just in fashion but in the world. This collection brought together bits and pieces that might be considered fixed components of his design signature. Then it mutated them. That means whatever he does next is going to be extremely interesting. And how often can you say that with any degree of certainty in fashion?